Communication That Blocks Compassion

Posted by Beetle B. on Thu 01 June 2017

Moralistic Judgments

Moralistic judgments are “life-alienating” communications. The focus tends to be on analyzing wrongness then focusing on needs. Even if the other person agrees with the moral judgment, they will feel fear, guilt, shame, etc. Not the healthiest way to solve a problem. This diminishes goodwill.

Value judgments vs moralistic judgments: The former are things we value in life (e.g. honesty, freedom, etc). Moralistic judgments are about people who fail to meet our value judgments.

He claims that O J Harvey did research where he showed that societies that had more moralistic constructs in their literature tended to have a more violent history.

Making Comparisons

Making comparisons blocks compassion and can make you miserable.

Denial of Responsibility

Phrases “have to” and “makes me feel” (e.g. “Some things you just have to do” and “You make me feel guilty”), “company policy”, “following orders” are all examples of a way to deny responsibility for your own actions.


  • Vague, impersonal forces: Because I had to
  • Condition, diagnosis, personal or psychological history: I drink because I am an alcoholic
  • The actions of others: I hit my kid because he misbehaved
  • The dictates of authority: I lied because my boss told me to
  • Group pressure: I smoke because all my friends did
  • Institutional policies: I did X because it is company policy
  • Gender/social/age/roles: I hate my job, but I do it because I am a father
  • Uncontrollable impulses: I couldn’t control my cravings

Even if there are things you feel you have to do (e.g. work at a job to feed the family), phrase it as a choice. Example: “I have to give grades because it is district policy” vs “I choose to give grades so I can keep my job”. At some level, it is a choice.

Other Forms of Life Alienating Communication

Communicating desires as demands: A demand implies a threat. Beware of this when in a position of authority. Make requests that are not demands.

Another form: Belief that certain actions merit reward whereas others merit punishment. It is usually coupled with the use of “deserved”. People should not change in order to avoid a punishment.

tags : communication, nvc